Songwriting Schools, Classes, Workshops and Camps
Delivery methods are just as varied as program type. Universities and private music schools make up the bulk of formal classroom offerings, but there are several good songwriting classes online as well as correspondence classes (by mail) and even one-on-one coaching by telephone. No matter who you are, where you live or what your current level of songwriting proficiency is, there is training available for you. Songwriting classes may give you that extra boost to make money with music!
Songwriting classes are at the heart of learning. All degrees and certificates are comprised of songwriting classes along with other material. At the same time, those people with a specific interest, a lack of time or who just want to test the water can enroll themselves in songwriting classes without having to commit to a more formal program. This is a great option for everybody and is extremely important for those who are gradually working on their skills while they perform or write. I think everyone tries classes at one point. Some examples of songwriting classes include Lyric Writng, Writing Songs for Film and Tv, Commercial Songwriting, and more.
Delivery of songwriting classes is usually the same as certificate programs with Universities, adult education, community colleges and private schools all available. Recognizing the impact of the Internet on the music industry, even traditional schools are starting to offer online classes in songwriting. This is a great method of delivery because you don't have to uproot your life, move to a larger center and enroll in a formal program. It works for a far larger number of people than formal classrooms do. For example, you can enroll yourself in an online songwriting class with Berklee Music and work at your pace in your home. It is the best option for many people.
What are songwriting courses? The terminology is confusing, sometimes muddied even by music schools themselves, but a course simply means "a path, " "direction" or "route." Therefore a songwriting course is simply a path to a goal. The path is defined for the most part by the school itself who thinks that to obtain a goal you must pass through several markers, or classes. This path usually takes you through several songwriting classes and in the successful end you reach the goal and are awarded a certificate or degree. In other words, a songwriting course is just a series of songwriting classes. People who take individual songwriting classes may or may not achieve the same goal, depending on if they know the correct route to take. For those who are uncertain of the path, or want more than just bits of knowledge, or who are doing more than just filling in gaps in their understanding, then a formal songwriting course is definitely the route to take.
Private music schools usually have certificate programs that focus specifically on songwriting instead of a more liberal education you'd find at a University. That means you can focus on what you want, and get it done faster. A typical program may last 6 months to 2 years. An example of a private school is Musician's Institute (MI) in Hollywood. Although they don't offer specific songwriting certificates at this time, songwriting classes are incorporated into other certificates like the Independent Artist certificate. This is great if you wish to be a songwriter for yourself or your band, as opposed to writing for other artists, film and tv, or advertising jingles.
Many of these schools require attendance in formal classrooms, but several have begun to offer their degrees through online courses that can be done at home. As well, adult continuing education is offered by some.
Songwriting workshops take on all kinds of forms depending on who the leader is. Typically they are presented in a conference form with a number of topics being covered over 1 or 2 days. Some workshops are focused around a single speaker (for example, the fabulous Jason Blume), and others, like the super cool Taxi Road Rally span several days, are held annually and feature many industry greats in several sessions. Songwriting workshops are important because they not only give you a chance to hear from those in the business and take home some new songwriting tips, but they let you rub shoulders with others in the same boat as you, and that's always an invaluable experience. Songwriting workshops should become part of your extended learning and attended regularly. Depending on your level of songwriting proficiency, your credits, who you know and your local market, you may even consider organizing a songwriting workshop for songwriters in your area and help them out too.
Songwriting camps are found in much greater numbers and are another way for you to keep your skills sharp. Camps are traditionally offered in the summertime, and some are targeted at youth, but again they come in all shapes and sizes. Songwriting camps are usually formed by workshops, classes, jam sessions, roundtables, concerts and networking.
One word of caution with songwriting camps. Only make a deposit on your tuition if you can and/or make sure the camp offers refunds. During a recent economic recession low enrollments caused the Red Cedar Songwriter Camp to cancel their summer sessions. Although the fees were returned, it is better for you to play it safe.
Songwriting Eductaion is yours to choose
Whether you choose to attend a formal songwriting school, take an online class at home, or attend one of the annual songwriting workshops or camps, continued learning and keeping up with your peers is absolutely vital to the songwriter of today. Songwriters face unique challenges, and there is a wealth of knowledge out there to help you overcome the obstacles of being a professional. Whether you choose a songwriting career or just want to write for pleasure, being the best you can be at your craft will help you reduce frustration, remove writers block, and help you become more creative. Check out the great resources for songwriters and try something new today.